The 16 Best Makeup Brush Cleaners to Shop in 2023December 27, 2022
“Immaculate makeup application is impossible with dirty and soiled brushes,” says makeup artist veteran Dominique Lerma. “Not to mention product buildup can cause bacteria and ultimately contaminate your makeup products, shortening their shelf life and can cause breakouts.”
If you’re ready to turn over a new leaf and give your brushes a good scrubbing, Lerma gave us the 411 on various types of brush cleaners on the market, and her best tips on how to clean your brushes. Discover which makeup brush cleaner is best for you, plus our thoughts on the best makeup brush cleansers out there, ahead.
How to Clean a Makeup Brush
Before diving into the best makeup brush cleaners, it’s important to know how to clean your makeup brushes. While the specifics change depending on which type of cleaner you use, start by rinsing your brushes with lukewarm water. Then, Lerma’s foolproof technique is to apply a dime-size amount of soap directly to a Moda Heart Scrubby Cleaning Pad and get to work.
“In a circular motion take the makeup brush and glide the brush across the heart scrubby in a figure-eight motion until it builds up a healthy lather,” she says. “Once lathered, rinse the brushes with water and gently press the excess water out from the base of the brush to the tips to ensure all the soap is rinsed off. This will also speed up the drying process.” If you don’t have a textured cleaning pad, you can also use a paper towel to sweep, spin and swipe your makeup brushes until they’re clean.
The 16 Best Makeup Brush Cleaners
Sigma Sigmatic Brush Shampoo Liquid
If it’s been a while since you washed your makeup brushes or you use your tools regularly to apply heavy liquid products, a foaming cleaner like the Sigma Sigmatic Brush Shampoo might be your match. “A foaming cleaner is going to be the best medium to thoroughly deep clean your brushes, especially for those well-soiled brushes that have creams, foundations and liquids on them,” says Lerma.
Kiehl’s Calendula Deep Cleansing Foaming Face Wash
Your foaming face washes are designed to remove makeup and provide your skin with a deep clean, while still being gentle. If you don’t have a specialty brush soap on hand, a small nickel-sized amount of a deep-cleansing face wash will work in a pinch. We love this pick from Kiehl’s.
Sephora Collection Deep-Cleaning Brush and Sponge Shampoo
This deep-cleaning shampoo can be used on both brushes and makeup sponges. When you follow the rinse, brush sweep, rinse process as directed, you won’t have to worry about any leftover cleanser residue either.
BlenderCleanser Solid Fragrance-Free
For those times when you’re on the go, a bar cleaner will be your best friend. The BlenderCleanser Solid Fragrance-Free is TSA-friendly, portable and easy to use.
IT Cosmetics Brush Bath
The IT Cosmetics Brush Bath comes in a solid bar and is designed to be especially gentle on your tools. Simply wet your brushes, swirl them over the bar and rinse.
ZOTE Laundry Soap
For a budget-friendly option, many TikTokers are turning to ZOTE Laundry Soap for cleaning stains out of blenders and brushes. The soap is a staple throughout Central and Latin America, and is about $1 a bar.
Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Liquid Soap
Sometimes the best product for the job is a multi-purpose beauty hero, like liquid soap. This option is a favorite for Lerma, too: “The organic liquid soap is gentle enough to deep clean your brushes often and will not alter the quality of your brushes.” Just be sure to rinse your brushes thoroughly.
NYX Professional Makeup Brush Cleaner
Using a gentle liquid soap, like NYX Professional Makeup Brush Cleaner, ensures your brushes keep their shape without drying them out. To use this brush cleaner, pour some in a bowl, dip your brushes in the liquid and swirl them around. Then, rinse the bristles with water and repeat the entire process until your brushes are free of makeup.
CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser
A daily facial cleanser you likely already have on hand, like CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser, is also effective at removing makeup and providing a deep clean without over-drying your brush bristles.
Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water All-in-1 Waterproof Makeup Remover
Micellar water, like Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water All-in-1 Waterproof Makeup Remover, has no oil, fragrances or alcohol, so if you use it in your daily skincare routine, it can also be used to give brushes a gentle clean.
NYX Professional Makeup On The Spot Makeup Brush Cleaner Spray
A spray brush cleaner, like the NYX Professional Makeup On The Spot Makeup Brush Cleaner Spray, is great for quick washes in between makeup applications — if you’re doing someone else’s makeup, or if you are traveling and only have one brush to complete your entire face. You can use it to disinfect and clean your tools between steps.
IT Cosmetics Your Brush Love Makeup Brush Cleaner
This super convenient spray cleaner is a favorite from Lerma, too. “It’s the best makeup brush cleaner for your quick-dry and in-between makeup uses,” she says. “It can be sprayed directly onto the brush and cleaned on a paper towel or microfiber towel.”
Glo Skin Beauty Brush Cleaner
Reviewers rave about how this spray cleaner is particularly easy to use and perfect for adding to a morning routine.
Anisa Beauty The Wash
This naturally-powered cleaner not only removes impurities from bristles but also helps improve overall skin health with its probiotic-rich formula. Best of all, it comes in a travel-friendly size so you can keep your brushes clean even on the go.
Jane Iredale Botanical Brush Cleaner
For those who prefer products with plant-based, natural ingredients, the Jane Iredale Botanical Brush Cleaner uses witch hazel with grapefruit and seaweed extracts to dissolve makeup grime in a spray formula.
Garnier Fructis Hair Reset Clarifying Shampoo
Shampoos, especially those without harsh chemicals like dyes or parabens, can be a good alternative for a quick wash. This clarifying shampoo is designed to lift and clear build up for your hair, without drying it out, and can provide similar results to your brushes.